Beating Heart Wrap

So the other thing I was working on whilst I was away last week was a quick final test of the Beating Heart Wrap.  This is shawl number 4 of shawl club and I designed it a while back using yarn from Unbelievawool and Jo.Knit.Sew that I had in my stash.  I am not normally a pink person but I love the way that the pink contrasts with the black and white variegated yarn.  The spike stitch reminds me of an EEG trace and so that is how the wrap got its name. The shawl pin is a Knit Pro one which works well with the colours I used.  The  shape is a bit unconventional but when it is folded over is creates a nice shape around the shoulders.

To make it practical for shawl club, I needed to change the colours to 3 x 50g skeins.  Sam sent the new colours to me a while ago, but they arrived during a particularly crazy time.  Then time caught up with me and I realised that I needed to get the new colour way version done immediately.  So the long drive to the south coast and the first day or so of the holiday was spent hooking up the shawl club version, which also showed off the alternative ending of a button to secure it, rather than a shawl pin.  Personally I still feel a shawl pin gives you more flexibility about how to wear this, but the button is often more practical, and is certainly less expensive.

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So the shawl club colours give the wrap a very different look – sugar sweet candy colours with a glittery handmade button from the amazing Cross Crafts which matched the yarn perfectly.  If you fancy making this yourself, you can find the pattern here.

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Hot Beverages and Sandy Balls…

So, I have just returned from a week by the seaside with the family.  It was a much needed break for all of us – a rest for the head and the heart.  As normal, I overpacked yarn, and came home with more than I took because I was able to meet up with Sam from Unbelievawool whilst I was there and she gave me some more to take home with me – one set of yarn for the next shawl, and another set of skeins which are part of a blanket club that I belong to.  So much for reducing the stash… But as you can see from the main picture, there was a lot of sitting on beaches or the sofa with a nice cup of tea and a project on the go.

I did manage to get some crocheting done (more of that in my next blog), and once that was done I had a go at the Arwen pattern from the new Truly Hooked sock book, using a merino / mohair mix yarn from Jo.Knit.Sew.  Those socks turned out to be the main project for the holiday.  I am not a very confident knitter, and although I can do the basics and a bit of intarsia (badly, usually), lace work and mock cables are new to me.  I also had to use YouTube to learn how to do long tail cast on, which now I have mastered it I can see will feature a lot in my future projects. The yarn overs between knit and purl stitches are what drove me to despair initially though.  I got there in the end but not before ripping the first sock back to the beginning about three times.  But once I nailed it I was pleased with the results.  I have the socks on the blockers now -I have just finished the second sock in the last half and hour – and so I will try to get a good picture to show you how well they look.  I am not sure I would make such pretty sock very often, but I learned a lot from making them, and I am sure someone will appreciate them for a gift.

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The price of creativity, however, is pain.  I have developed a hole in my right index finger from repeatedly using it to push the tip of the circular needles through the stitches.  It doesn’t look like much but trust me its quite deep and very sore.  Apparently I am not the only one who has one of these little holes in their finger, which makes me feel a bit better, like I have now earned some sort of badge of knitting honour.

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When I got back home my DK socks I had just finished before I left for holiday were ready to come off of the blockers.  These socks are special for two reasons: they are for me, and they are made with yarn I dyed myself at the retreat last year.  They look amazing and are so soft.  And they have blocked so well. These DK socks always looks a bit of a funny shape when they are done but they are so smart when they are blocked.

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It is late now so I am going to got to bed, and I will blog again about my crochet exploits in the morning.  The knitting needles are being put away for the next two weeks whilst I go into crochet overdrive.  It is time to get some of my project ideas out of my head and into reality…

A one-skein make…

So this weekend I promised my Instagram followers that I would put up some instructions on how to make this very pretty, and very simple scarf / cowl, which uses up one skein of sock or DK weight yarn, depending on what you have in your stash and how long you want it to be.  I have made it quite a lot, and I am making it again at the moment which has given me the chance to take some pictures as I go so you can see how I made it.  This picture above is a version I made in a Lollipop Guild sock yarn (merino).  I have also made it in sock weight merino / bamboo mix, and it is lovely and soft and cosy for a lightweight scarf (see below).

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The yarn in this picture was from Jo.Knit.Sew, who makes cracking yarns and the colour pooling on this project was the best I have seen, forming a spontaneous zig zag pattern!

At the moment I am making it with a merino / silk mix yarn, again from Lollipop Guild Yarns (called Snow Angel if you want the colour way!).

So, this is how to make it…

If you are working with sock, use a 4mm hook.  If you are using DK I would suggest a 5mm hook, but you might want to play around with it until you get the texture and drape you want, as I tend not to block these scarves.

Chain 34.  (If you want to adjust the width, either add or subtract in multiples of 3 to this number).

Row 1. Treble (UK Term), into the 4th chain from hook, chain 2, and double crochet (UK Term) into the same space.  *Skip 2 chains, then treble twice into the next stitch, chain 2, and then double crochet once into the same stitch**.  Repeat from * to ** to end of chain.  Turn.

Row 2. Chain 3, treble into the chain 2 space in the row below, chain 2 and then double crochet into the same chain 2 space of the shell in the row below…  

*Treble into the next chain 2 space twice, chain 2, then double crochet once into the same space**.  Repeat from * to ** to end.

Then you just repeat this last row (I have put the row in bold to make it clear which row I mean) over and over until the scarf is the length you want. You will end up with a really pretty scalloped edge to the length of the work.

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It is your choice whether to leave it as a scarf or sew the short ends together to make a cowl-type scarf.  Sew in your ends and admire your work!

Let me know how you get on.

 

Making the most of every free moment…

So one of the things that amuses / irritates the people closest to me is that I crochet every chance I get.  And I mean, every chance.  Between the day job and my resident small person, I get very little time to do something that I would like to do.  So I have a basket in the living room with my current blanket WIP in it (so that I can pick it up and put it down as I get the chance during the evening, small person permitting) and a WIP bag that is usually always with me.  I am lucky enough to be able to crochet in the car without getting motion sickness, and so I look forward to long drives so I can get some serious work done.  Last year on one of our regular trips to see the in-laws we got stuck in traffic for many hours in what was already a 5 hour car trip, and by the time we arrived I had finished a cardigan for my daughter…

Today has been a ‘hooking on the train’ day.  I love these days.  Today was a special treat as it was a 2 hour long direct train there, and the same back again, and I managed to get some real progress done on my latest design project.  And it also involved some added jeopardy, as it involved beadwork.  So in amongst the suited executives with their tablets and laptops, I quietly removed my Marvel Comics inspired WIP bag from Jo.Knit.Sew (a nod to my husband, so that he isn’t totally embarrassed when I get it out) from my smart work bag, and start crocheting away, swapping hooks when I get to the beads and praying that I don’t knock the jam jar with my hand and send them flying across the carriage.  In previous attempts the jar has jiggled with the movement of the train across the lap tray until it gets close to falling off the edge.  Today I discovered that if I stand the jar of beads on my empty WIP bag it doesn’t move (top tip) and I can bead without worrying about the jar sliding onto the floor.  On other train trips I have been known to walk the length of a carriage to get off, with a gent running behind me winding up the ball of yarn that I didn’t know was still in my seat, following me like a yarn-adoring courtier followed by a chorus of good-humoured giggles!

Crocheting in public typically results in some really lovely conversations with people who are genuinely surprised that people still do it (or who haven’t done it for ages), and today I was even called a ‘young person’ by the lady I chatted to.  “The problem with most young people now”, she said, “is they have too much money and they don’t think about the real value of things, the love that people put into things that are handmade.  They throw things away and buy new things.  They don’t cherish what they have. And they don’t understand what handmade really means.”  I love these conversations about things that people loved because they were made just for them.  Crocheting or knitting in public triggers these reflections and they are so moving.  And so true.